CYPRUS: Cypriot MPs urge more to be done to protect women from violent partners

Concerned over the high number of women killed by their partners and domestic violence cases, Cyprus MPs have launched a discussion over the need to stop this worrying trend.

Prompted by the murders of 5 foreign women and two of their children at the hands of a convicted serial killer, AKEL MPs Skevi Koukouma, Evanthia Savva and Eirini Charalambidou tabled the issue for discussion in parliament.

A total of 37 women have been murdered since 2000, the majority were killed at the hands of their partner or ex-partner.

AKEL MP Koukouma said that while figures are disappointing not much has been down towards combating gender violence a priority, either through appropriate legislation, proper management protocols or raising awareness within the society.

Referring to statistics, she has reported that 37 murders of women have been committed in Cyprus since 2000, while in Europe, “50 women each week are being murdered by their current or former life companion”.

“Worldwide, 137 women are killed on average by a former or current spouse or companion,” she added.

Head of the Human Rights Committee DISY MP Stella Kyriakidou, said that it is of particular concern that not much has been done to deal with violence against women.

“We have discussed with all the agencies the need for concrete actions to be taken as a comprehensive and proactive response to these crimes,” she said.

Kyriakidou said that Cyprus police do not have a protocol in dealing with reports of domestic violence, with which the risk is assessed, and action needed is decided.

A Police representative confirmed that the force does not have a special task force trained in dealing with cases of violence against women.

The DISY MP said that a bill regarding violence against women has been prepared and will be tabled soon.

A Ministry of Justice official told the House that a Women’s safe house will be up and running by the end of the year.

During the debate, Professor Andreas Kapardis, a law professor at the University of Cyprus, presented a study conducted by the university on the causes of femicide and suggested measures to be taken to prevent such phenomena.

The survey found that most killings could be avoided with the timely and effective protection of women-victims and children, as in most cases police were informed of violent incidents before the killings.

Kapardis suggested that a special Intervention taskforce be set up to protect victims of domestic violence.

The discussion is to be continued in September, after the House recess, with the Human Rights Committee seeking to support relative legislation as soon as possible.

The Association against Domestic Violence and the Health Ministry have already offered their insight and views on how to combat the phenomena, while the Police, the Justice Ministry and the Human Rights Commissioner will be called in September.

Source: The Financial Mirror